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Dungeons Dragons: The Book Of Vile Darkness


Book of Vile Darkness introduced several new mechanics relating to evil in Dungeons & Dragons, including rules for drug use, demonic possession, torture, and ritual sacrifice. It introduced 18 new prestige classes (see List of prestige classes). Like most supplemental source books, it included new spells, feats, and magic items. Some, including corrupt spells and vile feats, introduced new mechanics supporting evil characters. Also included were several of the archdevils and demon lords, such as Asmodeus and Orcus, updated for the third edition.

Monte Cook was asked about his concerns in determining the content of the book: "My primary concern was, 'What will Wizards of the Coast let me get away with' The answer turned out to be 'pretty much anything.' I didn't push it as far as I could have, though, and that made some people happy and others disappointed. Ultimately, the content in the book is as vile as I'd want from a book."[13]

Much of the content and concepts of Book of Vile Darkness have since been reprinted or adapted in source books without the "Mature Audiences Only" label. Rules for drug use had, in fact, already been printed,[15] while later material included corrupt spells,[16] vile feats,[16] possession,[17] and detailed discussions of demon lords.[17]

Within the fictional worlds of the game, the book of vile darkness (also sometimes capitalized as Book of Vile Darkness[18]) is a supernatural book that serves as a reference guide to evil and granting experience points and a bonus to the wisdom attribute of evil spellcasters, while harming or corrupting those of other alignments. Although listed as a magical item in the second edition, the history of this tome and its copies is first detailed in the supplemental source book that shares its name. In the 3.5 revision, the book of vile darkness is in the Dungeon Master's Guide, where it is considered a minor artifact.[19] For the fifth edition, the Dungeon Master's Guide lists the book as an artifact rarity wonderous item, penned by the lich-god Vecna.[20]

Most believe the lich-god Vecna authored the Book of Vile Darkness. He recorded in its pages every diseased idea, every unhinged thought, and every example of blackest magic he came across or devised. Vecna covered every vile topic he could, making the book a gruesome catalog of all mortal wrongs.

Other practitioners of evil have held the book and added their own input to its catalog of vile knowledge. Their additions are clear, for the writers of later works stitched whatever they were writing into the tome or, in some cases, made notations and additions to existing text. There are places where pages are missing, torn. or covered so completely with ink, blood, and scratches that the original text can't be divined.

Mark of Darkness. After you spend the requisite amount of time reading and studying the book, you acquire a physical disfigurement as a hideous sign of your devotion to vile darkness. An evil rune might appear on your face, your eyes might become glossy black, or horns might sprout from your forehead. Or you might become wizened and hideous, lose all facial features, gain a forked tongue, or some other feature the DM chooses. The mark of darkness grants you advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks made to interact with evil creatures and Charisma (Intimidation) checks made to interact with non-evil creatures.

Two thousand years ago, Nhagruul the Foul, a sorcerer who reveled in corrupting the innocent and the spread of despair, neared the end of his mortal days and was dismayed. Consumed by hatred for the living, Nhagruul sold his soul to the demon lords of the Abyss so that his malign spirit would survive. In an excruciating ritual, Nhagrull's skin was flayed into pages, his bones hammered into a cover, and his diseased blood became the ink to pen a book most vile. Creatures vile and depraved rose from every pit and unclean barrow to partake in the fever of destruction. The kingdoms of Karkoth were


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